20. Jeren Kendall (CF)
2019 will only be Kendall’s second full season in the minor leagues, but it feels like his career is already at a crossroads. His offense bottomed out in the California League in 2018, with a complete swing rebuild on the table for a possible comeback this season. Kendall’s athleticism and secondary tools still remain easy pluses, making it hard to discount his prospect status too much right now.
It’s difficult to talk about Kendall’s present offensive value without having seen his work to correct his many swing flaws this off-season. By year’s end with Rancho Cucamonga, Kendall’s swing was very stiff and practically single tracked, leaving too much of the zone uncovered. He still would flash pop, and Kendall had plus power coming out of Vanderbilt, but the present hit tool leaves him in danger of never breaking into the upper minors.
Loosening his swing and making his set-up more adaptable to in at-bat adjustments is only part of the battle, as Kendall’s pitch recognition is also a question mark. He will walk at a decent clip, but the strikeouts jumped into dangerous territory. Kendall’s speed is still a real weapon both on the basepaths and in manning center field, while his plus arm can play at any position in the outfield.
Kendall will likely return to the California League in 2019, though whether or not he starts the year there or in extended spring training will be determined by the Dodgers’ confidence in his swing adjustments. His very brief appearance with the big league club in spring training showed a little more fluidity in his set up, but a swing that was still pretty steep and stiff.
With the national prospect writers ready to write him off, Kendall will need to prove just an average hit tool to maintain his prospect status. That’s still a tall ask, given how he finished last year. It’s hard to count out a player still young and arguably the best athlete in the system, and the Dodgers will exhaust all options with his development to try to tap into his still immense potential.
19. Robinson Ortiz (LHP)
The kid gloves were still on for Ortiz’s development in 2018, with Robinson throwing just 32 innings with the rookie affiliate. Ortiz showed even better arm strength and more strikeout potential in his stint with the team, and looks primed for a larger role in 2019. Though full season ball is still likely a year away save for a late-season cameo, Ortiz is one of the more promising arms to look forward to in the coming years.
Despite an undersized (6’0) and already filled out frame, Ortiz generates power with a quick arm and fluid delivery. He sometimes will show balance issues on release that will cause him to miss high, but his overall polish is superior to his teenage peers.
Ortiz had begun to push his velocity into the mid 90’s in 2018. He still gets excellent life on his fastball, and his quick arm helps his change-up play up as a swing and miss pitch to right-handers. His curveball can look loopy at times and is still best used against left-handers, but his athleticism and arm speed should help him refine the shape and velocity of the pitch to eventually flash plus.
Ortiz’s command and ability to miss bats is already advanced for the rookie level, but his outings have yet to be stretched out to fit a full season role. He should be in line for a trip to the Pioneer League, where the offensive friendly environments should make for a sufficient test for him, and he could still see time with Great Lakes with a strong performance in Ogden.
While Ortiz has plenty of room for refinement as a 19 year old, he isn’t as projectable as many other players his age, and he likely will top out as a mid-rotation starter. He could move up several spots on this list if he proves himself ready to break the full season barrier, and Ortiz has the pitchability to start moving quickly once he proves better stamina.
18. Matt Beaty (1B/3B)
Injury prevented Beaty from carrying momentum from a stellar 2017 over into his 2018 campaign with Tulsa. Though his numbers didn’t stand out, Beaty is still one of the better contact hitters in the system and could contend for a reserve role at some point in 2019.
Though Beaty may be short on tools compared to the other hitters in this prospect tier, his pitch recognition and barrel control make him a good fit to combat the high strikeout pitchers in the modern game. Beaty’s set-up in the box is relaxed and easy, with a short load and quick trigger and a swing plane built for gap to gap line drives. His power is just average to fringe given the need for him to manage a corner position, and his overall offensive production likely couldn’t carry first base full time.
To his credit, Beaty has been flexible defensively and the Dodgers have worked to broaden his positional proficiency. Beaty played first, second, third and left field in 2018, with first and third being his best positions. He is an average athlete with enough arm to fill a part time four corners role.
While Beaty may not have the tools to profile as an every day player, he could carve a long career as a pinch hitter thanks to his ability to make consistent contact. He has enough pop to take a couple of starts a week in an outfield corner or first base, and could sustain longer playing time as a more contact oriented hitter amidst a more strikeout prone lineup.
Already 25 years old, Beaty is more or less a finished product physically, and only needs better health and more AAA at bats this season to prepare for a future big league role. Beaty might fit best with a rebuilding club as a “safer” bat to balance against younger and more mercurial talent. The Dodgers are deep in corner bats, which lengthens his odds with Los Angeles, but his hitting skill set is unique enough to give him a chance to break through in the next two seasons.
17. Josh Sborz (RHP)
A move to the bullpen seemed to be the best fit for Sborz’s stuff, pushing his strikeout rate into attractive territory and helping him earn a spot on the 40 man roster. While his velocity is still just average to slightly above, his aggressive mound mentality helps his stuff play up and should make a positive impact on a club even in middle relief.
Now sitting more comfortably in the mid 90’s, Sborz can pitch off his fastball effectively with swing and miss potential up in the zone with “rising” action. He can also create deception when throwing down in the zone thanks to an unconventional delivery and high slot.
Sborz will use two breaking balls in relief, with the curveball having more swing and miss potential, but the slider likely to get more use based on his command of the pitch. The slider has short break and he keeps the pitch in the zone, though he will lose his release and flatten out the break up in the zone. His curveball has a spike-like action, but can be tough for him to keep in the zone and primarily gets swings as a chase pitch. In relief, Sborz has little need for his change-up.
A decorated collegian at Virginia, Sborz has always had an impressive mound presence, and his competitiveness suits him in a short relief role. He doesn’t have the best stuff of the relief prospects in this tier, but he commands his pitches better and still generates satisfactory strikeout rates.
As a member of the 40-man roster, Sborz will likely get the chance to make his big league debut in 2019, but the competition for middle relief roles is fierce in the organization. His compete level will make any bullpen better even if he just fills a role in the sixth and seventh innings. Sborz long track record of success from college to pro ball could also make him an attractive trade candidate.
16. Connor Wong (C/2B)
While Wong put up better counting statistics than Jeren Kendall in 2018, like the toolsy outfielder, his trouble with contact could hamper his ultimate prospect status. Wong’s batted ball profile still allowed him to impact the game at a high level when putting the ball in play, and his power and athleticism are still rare at the catcher position.
Wong came just one home run shy of a 20-20 double-home run campaign in 2018, with a high lift swing and good strength boosting his power. He sells out for pop, costing him average, but that isn’t the only factor contributing to his high K rate. Wong has a tendency to get too rotational in his swing which can cause him to pull off the ball and leave him susceptible to pitches on the outer half of the zone. He also has a more complicated two tap timing mechanism that can be fouled up when he fails to properly diagnose pitches.
Wong was lauded for his versatility when he was drafted out of Houston, but he primarily spent the 2018 season behind the plate. He is still athletic enough to handle second or third in a pinch. Wong is a fairly sound receiver and his low to the ground build and crouch help him set a good target and frame pitches down in the zone.
Wong’s California League campaign should be enough to bump him up to Double-A in 2019, but the catching position gets more crowded above that. He will probably never hit for much average, but his power and versatility might make him a capable spot starter and bench bat on a first division club. The Dodgers are also deep enough in catching talent to make Wong a potential trade candidate as well, though he’s more likely to move up the organizational depth chart with more attractive trade candidates ahead of him in Triple-A.
2019 Top Prospects 16-104
|16||Connor Wong||C/2B||22.10||HiA||50||45||50||good athlete for C,solid pop and bip profile, utility||swing and miss concern, upside might be reserve|
|17||Josh Sborz||RHRP||25.03||AAA||50||45||50||high floor, command of three pitches, competitive||moved to full time relief, likely more middle upside|
|18||Matt Beaty||1B/3B||25.11||AAA||50||45||50||excellent feel for hit, career production, game pop||limited ceiling, future defensive home|
|19||Robinson Ortiz||LHSP||19.03||ROK||50||35||60||lively FB, good athlete, feel for pitching, + CH||upside more mid rotation than upper, projection|
|20||Jeren Kendall||CF||23.02||HiA||50||35||60||elite athlete, will flash + to ++ speed and defense||needs a complete swing rework, low floor|
|21||Jaime Schultz||RHRP||27.09||MLB||50||40||55||good K potential, + CV and SL, flashes + FB||poor command, relief only prospect, HR prone|
|22||Ben Holmes||LHSP||27.07||AA||50||45||50||4 pitch mix, pitchability, sneaky FB, durable build||upside of bottom rotation or middle relief, age|
|23||Morgan Cooper||RHSP||24.07||ROK||50||40||55||good frame, + BB with BB manipulation, production||has yet to throw professional pitch, shoulder ?|
|24||Cody Thomas||RF/LF||24.06||HiA||50||40||55||good athlete, improving fluidity, still upside||swing and miss concerns, may not have enough hit|
|25||Gerardo Carrillo||RHRP||20.07||LoA||50||40||55||electric arm, smooth athlete, chance for + SNK||undersized, possibly reliever, command|
|26||Stetson Allie||RHRP||28.01||AAA||50||40||50||power arm, chance for ++ FB, tight SL||age, still raw on mound, inconsistent command|
|27||Yadier Alvarez||RHRP||23.01||AA||50||35||55||swing and miss SL, consistently + velo, loose arm||poor command, FB doesn't miss bats, maturity|
|28||Brayan Morales||CF||23.04||LoA||50||40||50||good athlete, + to ++ speed, chance for + D||inconsistent hit tool, thin build, swing and miss|
|29||Donovan Casey||LF/RF/CF||23.01||HiA||50||40||50||twitchy athlete, bat speed, still upside||batted ball profile, still raw at plate, power pot|
|30||Omar Estevez||SS/2B||21.01||HiA||50||40||50||improved bip profile, good pop for 2B, swing plane||some swing and miss concern, low dev. path|
|31||Marshall Kasowski||RHRP||24.01||AA||45||45||50||big K production, chance for + FB and CV||relief prospect, atypical delivery, age for level|
|32||Jared Walker||3B/1B||23.02||HiA||45||40||55||+ game power, good athlete for size, '18 production||still swing and miss ?, defensive home|
|33||Carlos Rincon||RF||21.06||HiA||45||35||60||big raw power, physical upside, bat speed||pretty raw offensively, serious swing and miss|
|34||Jacob Amaya||SS/2B||20.07||SS||45||40||55||excellent plate approach, developing feel for hit||? on overall power potential, distance from majors|
|35||Kyle Garlick||LF/RF||27.02||AAA||45||45||50||productive, developing above avg game pop||4th outfielder profile, age, fringe speed|
|36||Adam McCreery||LHRP||26.03||MLB||45||45||50||heavy SNK from high slot, tough 1-7 CV, K potential||age, command issues, likely middle relief|
|37||Jordan Sheffield||RHRP||23.10||HiA||45||40||55||flashes + FB and sharp downer BB in short stints||pro production, likely relief only at this point|
|38||Deacon Liput||SS/2B||22.09||LoA||45||45||50||good defensive actions, athleticism, some pop, hit||likely utility ceiling, uneven college production|
|39||Darien Nunez||LHRP||26.00||LoA||45||45||50||good K production, lively FB and downer BB||older signee, likely middle relief prospect|
|40||Guillermo Zuniga||RHSP/RP||20.05||ROK||45||40||55||quick arm, good present velo, chance for + CH, SNK||SL flashes fringe, profile poss. relief|
|41||Logan Salow||LHRP||24.06||HiA||45||45||50||good pitchability, K potential, tight SL||FB velo can be fringe for relief, age for level|
|42||Braydon Fisher||RHSP||18.08||ROK||45||35||55||athletic and projectable, good run and sink on FB, CH||inconsistent mechanics, some effort, still raw|
|43||Starling Heredia||LF/RF||20.02||LoA||45||35||55||strong build, big raw power, decent upside||serious swing and miss, bat speed concerns|
|44||Melvin Jimenez||RHRP||19.08||LoA||45||35||55||good arm strength, projectable, chance for + SNK||long arm action, command ?, likely reliever|
|45||Errol Robinson||SS||24.06||AA||45||45||45||smooth infield actions, throwing arm, solid athlete||? on overall offensive ceiling, limited power|
|46||Zach Willeman||RHRP||23.00||LoA||45||40||50||good arm strength, repeatable delivery, K potential||likely reliever only, longer injury history|
|47||Zach Reks||LF/RF||25.05||AA||45||45||45||good feel for hit, production, high floor||age for level, more 4th OF profile|
|48||Jake Peter||2B/SS||25.11||AAA||45||45||45||fluid LH swing, arm strength, versatile||utility/bench upside, ? on overall pop|
|49||Edwin Uceta||RHSP||21.03||HiA||45||40||50||loose and fluid athlete, good pitchability for age||smallish build, avg career production, ceiling|
|50||Wills Montgomerie||RHSP/RP||23.10||HiA||45||40||50||spin rate, durable build, flashes + velo and CV||still struggling w/ command, likely reliever|
|51||Daniel Corcino||RHRP||28.07||AAA||45||45||45||above avg FB and SL combo, solid command||middle relief upside, age, no + offering|
|52||Yaisel Sierra||RHRP||27.10||AAA||45||40||50||good velo, SL will flash +, quick arm||command, incon. release, FB can be straight|
|53||Jesen Therrien||RHRP||26.00||AAA||45||45||45||SL flashes +, good command and K production||TJ wiped out '18. middle relief/ROOGY upside|
|54||Michael Boyle||LHRP||24.11||AA||45||45||45||solid pitchability, velo ticking up, developing SL||avg production, stuff profiles better in short relief|
|55||Bryan Warzek||LHSP/RP||22.02||LoA||45||40||50||huge K production, good action on the FB, compete||not projectable, might fit best in relief role|
|56||Leo Crawford||LHSP||22.02||HiA||45||40||50||solid production, command of 3 pitch mix||fringe velo, not as projectable, likely back end|
|57||Romer Cuadrado||RF/CF||21.07||LoA||45||35||55||good athlete for his size, chance for plus power||huge swing and miss concerns, too raw|
|58||Drew Finley||RHSP/RP||22.09||SS||45||40||50||good spin rate, chance for + CU, still upside||poor production as pro, fringe velo, command|
|59||John Rooney||LHSP/RP||22.02||LoA||45||45||45||excellent college production, size, 3 pitch mix||no outright + pitch, late rotation or mid relief upside|
|60||Justin Yurchak||1B||22.06||LoA||45||40||50||excellent plate approach, smooth LH swing||defensive home, ? on power ceiling, upside|
|61||Ryan Moseley||RHRP||24.06||HiA||45||40||50||chance for ++ snk, big groundball potential||command and walk rate, middle relief ceiling|
|62||Jesus Vargas||RHSP/RP||20.07||SS||45||40||50||chance for + FB, tight SL, solid command, upside||3rd pitch underdeveloped, still raw, injury in '18|
|63||Max Gamboa||RHSP||23.04||HiA||45||40||50||excellent arm strength, + to ++ velo, good frame||production does not match stuff, incon. SL|
|64||Shea Spitzbarth||RHRP||24.06||AA||45||45||45||agressive mound demeanor, arm strength, CV||middle relief upside, maxed out frame, size|
|65||Andre Scrubb||RHRP||24.03||AA||45||40||50||deceptive, solid K production, CV flashes above avg||likely middle relief upside, command wavers|
|66||Layne Somsen||RHRP||29.10||AA||45||45||45||tough overhead BB, production, athletic||limited mid relief ceiling, age, avg FB velo|
|67||James Outman||CF/RF||21.11||SS||45||40||50||good size, athletic and defensive rep, chance for + pop||raw for a collegian, swing and miss concerns|
|68||Nolan Long||RHRP||25.02||AA||45||45||45||improving K production, flashes + SL, big frame||middle relief upside, velocity generally avg|
|69||Alfredo Tavarez||RHRP||21.04||LoA||45||35||50||king sized frame, arm strength, K potential||still raw mechanically, repeating arm slot, command|
|70||Andre Jackson||RHSP/RP||22.11||LoA||45||35||50||solid athlete, flashes + FB and CH, upside||poor command, SL can flatten, poss. reliever|
|71||Marcus Chiu||2B/3B||22.03||SS||45||35||50||good athlete, still projectable, above avg pop||power over hit profile, ultimate defensive home|
|72||Jefrey Souffront||2B/3B||21.10||SS||45||40||45||some feel for hit, quick bat, mature plate approach||distance from the majors, build not projectable|
|73||Jose Chacin||RHSP||22.00||LoA||45||35||50||projectable frame, tight SL, mid rotation upside||present FB avg to fringe, K potential|
|74||Riley Ottesen||RHSP/RP||24.05||ROK||45||35||50||good velo, will flash + SL, arm speed||poor production, serious command issues|
|75||Hunter Feduccia||C||21.10||LoA||45||40||45||good feel for hit and plate approach, bat plane||little on field action due to injury, upside|
|76||Zach McKinstry||3B/2B/SS||23.11||AA||45||40||45||pretty swing, good defensive versatility, some pop||fringe/utility ceiling, age for level, not projectable|
|77||Jose Martinez||RHSP||19.11||ROK||45||35||50||smooth delivery, advanced feel for age, command||not as projectable as peers, distance from majors|
|78||Leonel Valera||3B/SS||19.09||SS||45||35||50||solid bat speed, decent loft in swing, loose athlete||lithe build, distance from majors, power ceiling|
|79||Niko Hulsizer||LF/RF||22.02||SS||45||35||50||big raw power, production, good size||? on overall hit tool, some swing and miss concern|
|80||Sauryn Lao||3B/1B||19.08||ROK||45||35||50||good bat speed, solid frame, power potential||slower to develop, ? on defensive home|
|81||Devin Mann||2B/3B/SS||22.02||LoA||40||40||50||solid athlete, good plate approach, chance for avg pop||defensive home, bat speed ?, poss. utility upside|
|82||Josh McLain||CF||22.06||LoA||40||45||45||excelent bat to ball skills, solid defensive rep||little power production, 4th OF upside|
|83||Gregorio Sequera||RHRP||21.04||SS||40||40||50||arm strength, some feel for spin, 3 pitches||age for level, likely reliever, command|
|84||Chris Mathewson||RHSP/RP||23.10||HiA||40||40||45||SNK/SL mix, developing K production, command||back of rotation, middle relief upside, fringe velo|
|85||Joe Broussard||RHRP||29.05||AAA||40||40||45||solid production, flashes tight SL, durable frame||limited upside, velo fringe to avg|
|86||Stephen Kolek||RHRP||21.11||LoA||40||40||45||durable build, four pitch mix, some arm strength||long relief or swingman profile, avg college prod.|
|87||Parker Curry||RHSP||25.04||HiA||40||40||45||solid career production, good command, competitive||no true plus offering, low rotation ceiling|
|88||Nathan Witt||RHRP||22.11||ROK||40||35||50||good build, projectable, arm strength||project arm, distance from majors, relief upside|
|89||Luke Heyer||2B/3B||22.06||LoA||40||40||45||college production, chance for above avg pop, strong||avg athlete, ? on defensive home, bat speed|
|90||Mike Ahmed||3B/SS/1B||27.02||AA||40||40||45||productive in '16, swing plane, avg pop||bat speed, age, limited upside|
|91||Rolando Lebron||CF/RF||20.11||ROK||40||40||45||twitchy, good feel for hit, bat speed||undersized, old for level, lower upside than peers|
|92||Brandon Montgomery||SS/2B/CF||23.02||HiA||40||40||45||solid bat to ball skills, High A production, utility||limited ceiling, poss. 4A player, age for level|
|93||Dillon Paulson||1B||21.10||SS||40||40||45||chance for above avg pop, strong build||bat speed ?, overall hit tool and ceiling|
|94||Albert Suarez||SS/2B||19.04||ROK||40||35||50||fluid athlete, some projectability, rep for D||modest production, distance from bigs, ceiling ?|
|95||Jair Camargo||C||19.09||ROK||40||40||45||some defensive potential, has flashing hitting acumen||not as projectable, did not take step forward in '18|
|96||Jeremy Arocho||2B||20.06||SS||40||40||45||good feel for hit, barrel control, decent athlete||limited ceiling, ? on power potential|
|97||Logan Landon||CF/LF/RF||26.01||AA||40||40||45||good athlete, playing speed, some feel for hit||not projectable, age, low ceiling, 4th OF type|
|98||Jacob Gilliland||RHSP/RP||19.02||ROK||40||35||50||quick arm, chance for above avg FB and CH||poor command, CV can be fringy, raw|
|99||Daniel Robinson||LF||22.05||SS||40||40||45||solid feel for hit, all fields approach, productive||limited ceiling, 4th OF profile, power ceiling ?|
|100||Moises Perez||2B||21.08||LoA||40||40||45||loose athlete, some feel for hit||offensive ceiling, lower on defensive spectrum|
|101||Yeison Cespedes||RHRP||21.01||SS||40||35||50||quick arm, good sink on FB, tight SL||a little behind on age curve, likely relief only|
|102||Juan Morillo||RHSP/RP||20.00||ROK||40||35||50||projectable build, loose arm, solid K production||distance from majors, command, still raw|
|103||Jerming Rosario||RHSP||16.11||NA||40||30||50||projectable, athletic, arm speed, dev. 3 pitch mix||very raw, effort in delivery, inconsistent release|
|104||Ismael Alcantara||RF||20.06||ROK||40||30||50||good build, athletic, leverage in swing, power potential||old for level, ? on overall hit tool, distance from bigs|